Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chalk Up The "W": What Went Right And What Went Wrong For The Sabres

    Its been almost two years since the Sabres pulled out a victory vs Boston in T.D. Garden, but Thomas Vanek was a Bruin nightmare Thursday night in Buffalo's 7-4 win. He earned himself his eighth career hat trick and second 5 point game of the year.It was the third win of the year for the blue and gold and was the first loss in regulation by Boston this young season.
     Buffalo did what they planned to do. The signing of John Scott and Steve Ott was supposed bring grit and toughness to games such as Boston. John Scott dropped the gloves with the tough forward Shawn Thornton and if you watched the game you know who came out on top. It wasn't even a matchup for the 6'8 giant on skates. Thornton left the game after he was dropped to the ice from three solid punches by Scott.
    The main reason why Buffalo came out on top was because of their star forward Thomas Vanek. Vanek earned his eighth career hat trick. He opened the scoring 98 seconds into the second period receiving a beautiful pass from Cody Hodgson as he one timed a shot to the back of the net. Mid way through a two man advantage, Vanek deflected a pass from Christian Ehrhoff into the net. Ninety-three seconds later, Vanek was was flattened by Andrew Ference; even as Vanek was falling to the ice, he managed to make a stellar pass to an all alone Tyler Ennis to tie the game at three.
His third goal was a two on one break with Jason Pominville. It looked as if he was going to pass it off, but he held it long enough to make a video game like move on Tuukka Rask to give Buffalo the insurance goal they needed. Vanek who entered the game tied for sixth in scoring the league, now has 54 points in 46 career games against Boston.
     As for the goaltending, Ryan Miller had a shaky start to the game allowing three goals early in the second. He did recuperate in the third period. Miller made stop after stop on a powerplay that virtually saved the game for the Sabres, including robbing Zdeno Chara with his glove on a one timed shot. Miller stopped 38 of 42 shots which is pretty good in any standard.
    The defense, well where to start? It looked soft as always. It was a game for Tyler Myers and Jordan Leopold to forget. They were on the ice for all of Boston's goals, including Marchand dangling both of them to get an easy shot on Miller for their second goal. One advice for Coach Ruff to give them? USE THE BODY.
    Buffalo was in desperate need for this "W". They travel to Montreal to play the Canadiens on Saturday. If they keep putting the puck in the net like they did against a talented and tough Boston team their is no doubt they could climb the standings.  

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